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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    IWS

    Barb Pezze, IWS

    Congratulations to Barb Pezze, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Barb:

    After retiring from a corporate career I decided to focus on my passion for wine.  I now own my own company, VinoNomad, which provides custom wine education classes.

    I completed WSET level and I and II certificates.  After that base I decided to do a deep dive on Italian wines and completed the IWS program.  The WSET provided an excellent background and I feel that it equipped me well for the IWS program.  I am considering either Spanish or French Wine Scholar programs next.

    The course has given me more confidence when discussing and selecting wine.  I also reference the materials when creating new classes for my business.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The course has given me more confidence when discussing and selecting wine. I also reference the materials when creating new classes for my business.
    • Position President, VinoNomad
    • Certifications WSET Levels 1 & 2
    Read more...

    David Wong, IWS

    Congratulations to David Wong, IWS, for achieving highest honors in the Italian Wine Scholar exam with AWSEC, Hong Kong.

    About David:

    As a data and analytics consultant, my job has nothing to do with wine. But I always love wine tasting, especially blind tasting, to appreciate wine without bias of fancy label, gimmicky marketing, or brand name. Learning about wine also broadened my horizons, expanded my personal network, and more importantly, I met my wife through a wine tasting event!

    I have passed French Wine Scholar with highest honors and then the WSET diploma in wine & spirits with merit. The reason I enrolled in this course is to understand complicated Italian wines with numerous indigenous grape varieties, biotypes, and wine laws. I enjoy drinking Barolo DOCG, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Etna Rosso DOC, and recently Trento DOC sparkling wine.

    Italian Wine Scholar program helps fill in the gaps of WSET diploma, by providing in-depth knowledge of indigenous grape varieties, appellations, history, and culture of wine. The book is very clear and descriptive. The best part is the e-learning platform, which provides interactive exercises, Italian pronunciation of regions and grape varieties, and many quizzes. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The book is very clear and descriptive. The best part is the e-learning platform, which provides interactive exercises, Italian pronunciation of regions and grape varieties, and many quizzes.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar, WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Alex Hawes, IWS

    Congratulations to Alex Hawes, IWS, for achieving highest honors in the Italian Wine Scholar exam with San Francisco Wine School. 

    About Alex:

    Previously, I was a long time Captain/Server in San Francisco. After spending nearly 8 years at Morton’s Steakhouse, a year long stint at Mourad opened my eyes to the world of wine outside of Napa Valley. Transitioning to Fiorella, my focus narrowed to Italian wine.  I transitioned from serving at Fiorella Clement to opening the new Fiorella Sunset as a part of the management team.  I’m open to several different career avenues: GM, Wine Director, Wine Educator, Winemaker.... Or some combination thereof.

    Thanks to SF Wine School, the Glancy Wine Foundation and their donors, I was afforded the opportunity of a formal wine education.  After passing IWS North last summer, I geared up my CMS studies through the Somm Essentials program at SF Wine School. I passed both Introduction and Certified CMS in July/August.  Now, having completed IWS, my 2022 curriculum starts with California Wine Appellation Specialist (SF Wine School) and Napa Valley Wine Expert (Napa Valley Wine Academy). Future plans include CWS, French Wine Scholar and someday, CWE!  When studying for CMS, I was extremely confident on my Italian Wine Theory thanks to IWS. That allowed me to focus on other countries/regions.  IWS has excellent structure in their curriculum. When taking future courses, I plan on using the same study format that IWS employed.

    IWS challenged me as a student; passing this program has made me confident in selling, buying and educating others in Italian wine. It also gives me confidence in furthering my wine education, as I know IWS is one of the most difficult programs out there.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial IWS challenged me as a student; passing this program has made me confident in selling, buying and educating others in Italian wine.
    • Position Manager, Fiorella
    • Certifications Introductory Sommelier Certificate and Certified Sommelier
    Read more...

    Bret Lowry, IWS

    Congratulations to Bret Lowry, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Bret:

    I am a wine enthusiast who turned my passion into my profession. My burgeoning interest in wine prompted me to seek educational opportunities by which to expand my wine knowledge and to become more intimately acquainted with the history, grape varieties, and production details of my favorite appellations and wines. This past year, I worked at a winery in Southwest Michigan where I gained experience in sales and the production side of the wine business. Working all four seasons out in the field and entwining myself with the viticultural and enological aspects of winemaking intensified my passion for wine and cemented it as the industry I wish to pursue for my career. At this time, I have aspirations for a career in distribution or fine wine auction houses.

    I began my formal wine studies with WSET Level 1 and eagerly achieved the WSET Level 2 (with Distinction) shortly thereafter. At that juncture, I turned my focus to the courses offered by the Wine Scholar Guild to hone in on the wines of Italy, for which I have a particular affinity. The course was extremely rewarding. The study manual, online instruction and resources, and anecdotes shared by instructors and classmates added multiple layers of information and nuance to the experience.

    I am a firm believer that the menu of courses offered by the Wine Scholar Guild will contribute to success in other wine education programs, which is why I am currently enrolled in the French Wine Scholar program.

    Thanks to the IWS program, I am now able to speak about Italian wines, regions, appellations, varieties and more with a heightened degree of confidence. That is an invaluable tool to have socially and is useful in many wine careers. While the IWS credential surely carries weight professionally, I would also like to utilize what I have learned in IWS with a wine-focused immersion trip to Italy.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Thanks to the IWS program, I am now able to speak about Italian wines, regions, appellations, varieties and more with a heightened degree of confidence.
    • Position Sales Associate & Vineyard Operations Assistant, White Pine Winery
    • Certifications WSET Levels 1 & 2
    Read more...

    Bruce Neidle, IWS

    Congratulations to Bruce Neidle, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar program with highest honors!

    About Bruce

    I am a wine enthusiast fulfilling a long term aim to expand my knowledge of wine.I completed the Society of Wine Educators’ Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) program recently which provided me with great breadth of learning across wine growing countries. The Italian Wine Scholar program allowed me to dive deeper into my favorite wine growing country and offered me an incredible perspective and appreciation for the variety of native grapes, styles of wine and history of each Italian wine growing region.  

    I am looking forward to continuing my journey to learn more about wines of the world.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The IWS program offered me an incredible perspective and appreciation for the variety of native grapes, styles of wine and history of each Italian wine growing region.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications CSW (Society of Wine Educators)
    Read more...

    Natalia Morrison, IWS

    Congratulations to Natalia Morrison, IWS, for achieving highest honors in the Italian Wine Scholar exam with AWSEC, Hong Kong.

    About Natalia:

    The IWS course has been a real gift! It’s allowed me to understand so much more about the when, why, how, where, and what of Italian wines - the historical background, the geographical and cultural contexts, as well as current grape growing and winemaking traditions and regulations.

    But the IWS isn’t only a fascinating program to study - it’s also been very practical as it helps me better predict what’s going to be inside the various bottles of Italian wine I come across and, as a result, what might be the best way to enjoy that wine! Salute!

    What do I do? I’m a wine educator with AWSEC Hong Kong. I love my job!

    How did it all begin? When we moved to Hong Kong a number of years ago, my husband and I began studying wine together as a hobby. We did WSET level 1 (wine), 2 (wine and spirits), and 3 (wine). We also did the WSET level 3 in sake together. I was lucky enough to win an award to get my first year of the diploma (WSET Level 4 Wine & Spirits) paid for and was asked at that point to teach Levels 1 and 2 wine at AWSEC. Teaching was a great way to reinforce the basics for the diploma (which, by the way, I just found out I passed with distinction - I’m ecstatic!). I’m now teaching WSET level 3, too.

    Part-way through the diploma I found out about WSG courses. I took all of them (SWS, IWS and FWS) to reinforce and round out my WSET diploma studies. They’re fantastic courses and added a lot of meaning and context to a more theoretical study of wine. I’ve since been approved to teach SWS and am in the process of getting approval to teach IWS, too. After I write the FWS exam, I hope to be able to teach that course at some point, too!

    Thanks for offering these fantastic courses!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The IWS course has been a real gift! It’s allowed me to understand so much more about the when, why, how, where, and what of Italian wines.
    • Position Wine Educator, AWSEC, Hong Kong
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, Spanish Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Jay Il KIM

    Congratulations to Jay Il Kim for achieving highest honors in the Italian Wine Scholar exam with AWSEC, Hong Kong.

    About Jay Il:

    I’ve enjoyed wine for more than 15 years. Although I am neither a wine-professional nor from a wine business family, my irresistible curiosity and passion for wine have led me to explore the wine world since day 1. Tasting, reading, sharing, discussion, collection, winery trips… and finally I started to take wine courses last year. Now wine is one of my best interests and wine drinking and sharing is the most joyful activity in my life. I am currently considering work in the wine industry as my next career.

    I took the WSET level 3 course and test just before beginning IWS. While the WSET course helped me understand overall regional characteristics and key factors in viticulture and oenology in the global scope, IWS added more specific and detailed knowledge of the region to my wine study.

    I am thinking of enrolling in the WSET level 4 course as well as FWS in the near future. I have no doubt what I learned in IWS will contribute to my success in these courseworks.

    With continuous efforts by the Italian wine communities the Italian wine is highly sought for now in the market. Its variety, history, and good value are deemed unbeatable and therefore in-depth knowledge of Italian wine cannot be ignored today. I believe my accomplishment in IWS will be regarded as a proof of my knowledge and bring great opportunities soon. And needless to mention, I am now even more enthusiastic in Italian wines and I am their supporter. It is so true that the more we know the more we can enjoy! Salute!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial IWS added more specific and detailed knowledge of the region to my wine study...I have no doubt what I learned in IWS will contribute to my success...
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Sanghyuk Lee, IWS

    Congratulations to Sanghyuk Lee, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Sanghyuk:

    I’m a representative of a small wine shop in South Korea and at the same time wine enthusiast. As wine knowledge is wide, deep and interesting, continuous study of wine is important. For me, wine is like a mentor which makes me humble. This makes me study and enjoy wine everyday!

    I started to study wine at the age of 23. I was hospitalized at that time because I was injured. Spending time alone in the hospital was boring so I looked around and found a book about wine on the bookshelf. So, with curiosity, I started to read that book. After reading that book, I wanted to explore more about wine, so, since then, I read various books about wine such as Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil and The Complete Practical Winetasting Course by Michael Schuster and studied wine by myself by tasting different types of wine based on a guideline in books.

    I wanted to study wine more by taking official courses. So, in 2017, I passed WSET Level 3 Certification after attending lectures by Soojin Park (WSET Diplomate) in WSA Wine Academy in South Korea. Also, in 2018, I passed FWS with Highest Honors. While I was looking for my next goal after passing FWS, I found out about the IWS Program from WSG. Through that IWS Program, I could acquire more knowledge about Italian wine deeply and systematically. Moreover, it was a great opportunity to learn about the history of Italian wine and food culture. My goal is to pass FWS, IWS and SWS with Highest Honors before I take the WSET Diploma course.

    I love to study wine continuously because it always makes my life energetic. Wine is my life-long friend and business partner. Thus, I would like to spend my entire life by reading and studying wine.

    I just completed the Spanish Wine Scholar program (from September to October) at the WSA Wine Academy in South Korea and took the exam, and I’m waiting for the result now. I am now interested in taking the WSET Diploma course, so I am planning to take the distance learning course for the WSET Diploma.

    To briefly describe the IWS Program, it is a concentrated knowledge of Italian wine. It helps to understand terroirs and towns of all regions in Italy in detail. The surprising fact is that this program contains Italian terroir more closely than any other programs. By learning a terroir and wine system in detail which is an essence of wine, I could learn more about the nature of Italian wine.

    Also, I was surprised that this program deeply taught about all regions and DOC/DOCGs of Italian wine. I think it delivered general and detailed knowledge about Italian wine to students at once. Lastly, the detailed explanation about many Italian native grape varieties was impressive. The part which gathers Italian native grape varieties based on genetic characteristics of grape was very interesting.

    Through the IWS Program, I could learn detailed knowledge about Italian wine which I couldn’t easily learn in other courses. I appreciated WSG online instructor (Ms. Andrea Eby) and members who gave me a guideline on all parts. I think the IWS Program is an essence of learning knowledge of wine in the world beyond Italy because Italy is the origin of viticulture and vinification .

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial It delivered general and detailed knowledge about Italian wine...the detailed explanation about many Italian native grape varieties was impressive.
    • Position Representative, Bareunwine Shop
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, French Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Alanna McIntyre, IWS

    Congratulations to Alanna McIntyre, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Alanna:

    I found my way into the wine industry through my love of art, culture, food and languages. While studying Italian in Florence, Italy in the early 2000s, I took my first wine appreciation class and was hooked.  I realized how much more wine was than a beverage and that it was a gateway to so many of the subjects that I loved.  Upon returning to Canada, I received my sommelier certification through the International Sommelier Guild in 2002.  That same year, my father embarked on a family project and planted a 4.5-hectare vineyard in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia with which I was involved.  My experience working in the vineyard has given me a unique understanding and respect for viticulture and wine production in Nova Scotia.  

    I have been working at the independent wine retailer, Bishop's Cellar, as a product specialist and educator since 2007.  I manage the local wine and spirits portfolio, create website content, coordinate and deliver the wine education program at Bishop’s Cellar.  I have judged in wine competitions, both locally and nationally.  In addition to my wine studies and work, I am a certified yoga teacher and occasionally combine my love of wine and yoga through event and retreat offerings.    

    In addition to my Sommelier Certification, I have the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits and most recently the Wine Scholar Guild Italian Wine Scholar Certification.  The Wine Scholar course was an ideal complement to my past studies and deepened my knowledge and confidence level in Italian wines.  The company I work for has a significant Italian wine portfolio, so it was useful to focus my studies on a particular country.  I plan on taking more wine certification programs through the WSG; France next, then Spain and more specialized courses.

    What I learned in the program will help me create better online content and provide more in-depth information for customers and staff on Italian wines.  I hope to guide wine and cultural tours to Italy again soon and having the IWS certification will be an asset.  The course provided excellent wine related information set within a historical and social context which enriched the learning process.  

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The course provided excellent wine related information set within a historical and social context which enriched the learning process.
    • Position Product Specialist, Educator, Bishop’s Cellar, Halifax
    • Certifications Certified Sommelier, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Hyunseok Kang, IWS

    Congratulations to Hyunseok Kang, IWS, for achieving highest honors in the Italian Wine Scholar exam with WSA, Seoul.

    About Hyunseok:

    Greetings. My name is Kang Hyunseok and I am a journalist and reporter in broadcasting station in South Korea. I’ve finished the IWS course this year after completing the FWS last year. It was great experience  to study the IWS.

    It was a harsh challenge for me to study IWS because English is not my first language. I have to overcome the language problem. Another problem was the number of varieties existing in Italy. When I studied the FWS, variety was not the issue. Almost varieties such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, grenache were already familiar for me before starting FWS. Numerous varieties in IWS were totally different. It was a kind of nightmare!!!!  To get over the language problem, I decided to translate main material textbook to my first language, Korean. With translation, it was much easy to memorize some key factors like DOCGs.

    For variety issue, I utilized visual materials. Whenever I was faced with new and unfamiliar varieties, I checked the photo of variety with web searching. The efficiency of memorizing varieties was so high with a visualized image of variety. And a simple fact is the most important. Studying everyday until the exam. The whole volume of study is so wide and huge. Once you are backed up, you cannot catch up with remaining study stuffs. I guess the key is diligence.

    I’ve just finished IWS with highest honors and it gives me a kind of confidence. I gain confidence that I can study wine with a second language. As long as time permits, I hope to study next step like a master course of FWS or WSET diploma.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial It was great experience to study the IWS...The whole volume of study is so wide and huge.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar (highest honors)
    Read more...
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